Thursday, August 05, 2010

Nokturnal Mortum: Weltanschauung (2005) Review

Nokturnal Mortum is a Ukrainian pagan metal band (i.e. black metal mixed with folk metal) associated with NSBM, and on the No Colours Records label. For those who don't know, NSBM is "national socialist" black metal (why the ideology dictates a different genre name, I'll never understand), and No Colours Records has often been associated with NSBM, though they seem to be indifferent to the ideology of the groups they sign.

I was intrigued by the sound of the band first, having never listened to anything which really falls into the pagan metal genre. After researching the band, I was a little leery of getting an album from a band which promotes these kinds of ideas. Then I smacked myself on the head. Who cares? National socialism is less offensive to me, personally, than some of the other things I listen to. Just because society as a whole has a special superhatred reserved only for racism doesn't mean it's objectively any worse than anti-Christian or any of the other multidudes of heinous ideologies.

The reason I won't buy Burzum records is because Varg Vikernes acted on his disgusting beliefs in contravention to law. Espousing them I can deal with. So I picked up Weltanschauung.

The black metal elements are mostly in the more ambient parts of the Norwegian style. Not bad at all, but what makes this stand out is the Ukrainian folk music infused throughout. It has a somewhat Oriental kind of sound to it, ironically (considering their own weltanschauung) conjuring images of gypsies, Arabs, and Persians, at least to my Western ears.

It's actually very good stuff, musically speaking. I don't recall understanding a word of the lyrics, thankfully, except for the title of one of the songs--much of it is in Russian and Ukrainian. The album is definitely NOT for those with short attention spans: it has a pattern of alternating between 1-3 minute ambient synthesizer/folk songs and 8+ minute metal songs, and the whole thing clocks in at over 74 minutes.

The Verdict: Actually, this is good stuff, if you can get past the NS taboo have a good attention span. I actually enjoyed the folksy interludes, as they tend to break up the album nicely, contrasting pretty with ugly. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. I have never really looked into anything from the NSBM genre, moreso because I have not been terribly interested in the descriptions of the music other than a repugnance towards the ideology. I listen to some pagan black metal bands such as Negura Bunget and Blood of Kingu but never really considered checking out Nokturnal Mortum. Drudkh is an often recommended band from the genre, but I have never really done much research into them either.